Is the president-elect soliciting help from his former Hollywood agent in selecting a cabinet?
Ari Emanuel, the co-CEO of entertainment and sports powerhouse WME-IMG, was spotted Sunday at the Trump National Golf Course in New Jersey, and a WME-IMG source confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter that a meeting is set for Sunday afternoon. The exact nature of the sit-down is unclear, but the Democratic stalwart Emanuel is said to be uninterested in a job in the Trump administration and instead hopes to discuss some of Trump's early decisions as president-elect.
Emanuel, the brother of Chicago mayor and former President Barack Obama top aide Rahm Emanuel, represented Trump in his Apprentice days. WME-IMG later bought the Miss Universe pageant from the Trump Organization when the real estate mogul ran for president and came under fire from contestants and broadcast partner NBC for his comments about Mexicans and others.
Emanuel and Trump have remained close, at least according to Trump. "He's a very good friend of mine," the president-elect told THR in June, adding that Emanuel had offered to coordinate the making of a film for the Republican convention.
But Emanuel does not share the president-elect's politics, having donated for years to Democratic candidates and been active in liberal causes. In addition to Rahm Emanuel's close ties to Obama, Ari's other brother Zeke, a noted doctor, worked on passing the Affordable Care Act.
Still, Emanuel is said to be interested in meeting with Trump in an effort to offer his opinion on the president-elect's initial moves, which have included naming right-wing media executive Steve Bannon as chief strategist and ultra-conservative Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions as attorney general. Trump's first steps as president-elect have alarmed many in Hollywood and on the left, and Emanuel, an outspoken and opinionated figure, may be one of the few contrarian voices that Trump will listen to as he puts together his White House team. WME-IMG declined to comment.
In a March interview with THR, Emanuel downplayed his relationship with Trump, noting WME-IMG's purchase of Miss Universe was purely a business transaction.
"He wanted to sell it," Emanuel said. "Great, we wanted to buy it."